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Rogers ready for Wallaby return

By Adrian Warren 16/08/2005 07:28:43 PM Comments (0)

Mat Rogers is ready to return to the Test fray this weekend against South Africa and hopes adversity will only make the wounded and out-of-form Wallabies stronger.

Rogers is poised to be recalled to the 22 on Wednesday after missing Australia's three successive losses with a knee injury.

Usually a fullback, Rogers has also run on the wing and at five-eight at training this week and faces competition for the number 15 jersey from youngster Drew Mitchell, whom he felt excelled there last week.

His backline colleagues continue to fall like ninepins with Chris Latham, the man who Rogers has vied with for the Wallaby fullback spot in recent seasons, ruled out of a second successive Test with a hamstring problem.

Latham joined fellow backs Stirling Mortlock, Wendell Sailor and Stephen Larkham, plus hooker Jeremy Paul, on the list of injured and unavailable players for Saturday's Tri-Nations match in Perth.

Of the other wounded Wallaby backs, Elton Flatley and Morgan Turinui trained while Matt Giteau was expected to resume on Wednesday.

"It's pretty much if you're fit, you'll get a run this week," quipped Rogers, who hasn't played in a losing Wallaby side this year after participating in the four wins at the start of their 2005 campaign.

"I feel great. It's been a bit of a long road, a frustrating one, to sit back and not be able to do anything when the team has gone through a little bit of a down period.

"With Latho pulling out today, we've been struggling a little bit for numbers, but the attitude has been great, and everyone has been chipping in and doing their bit to help out the next guy.

"I'm hoping a bit of adversity will make us a bit stronger. I remember going over to South Africa a few years ago, and the Springboks had just been beaten by 40 points by the All Blacks and everyone was giving them the hardest time I've probably ever seen a side cop.

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